WTM 2017: Qatar interest undimmed by regional dispute, says tourist board

WTM 2017: Qatar interest undimmed by regional dispute, says tourist board

A dispute between Qatar and its neighbours has not dampened interest among travellers, according to its tourism authority.

The Gulf state has been cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours over its alleged support for terrorism.

Qatar denies supporting extremist groups and says the crisis is politically motivated.

Qatar Tourism Authority launched its ‘Qatar Welcomes the World’ campaign at this week’s World Travel Market following the introduction of visa-free travel to nationals from 80 countries in August.

Marketing consultant for the tourism authority Jennifer Beggs said UK visitor numbers remained static for this year, adding: “The UK trade has been very supportive. Nobody has reported their customers are not coming to Qatar because of any negative news.

“We have had huge amounts of support from the UK government for Qatar, which is handling the dispute very well.”

She said while the blockade from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, had impacted neighbouring visitor arrivals tourist visits from the USA and Europe are up 8% and 4% respectively.

Qatar Airways will launch a new flight from Cardiff to Doha in May making it the sixth direct route from the UK and Ireland to the Gulf state.

The tourism authority hosted its first mega fam earlier this year for 35 agents and plans to host another next year.

Travel Weekly coverage of World Travel Market

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